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The Power of Influence

The Quintessential Gentleman spoke with a few social change agents who are making an impact in their prospective industries as they use their gifts to empower their communities. Here’s what they had to say about “The Power of Influence”.

Robert Avery – Publicist – Associate Director of Communications Complex Networks – Instagram

Robert Avery

We would like for you to briefly describe your career and what POWER means to you as an African American entrepreneur.

My career as a publicist has taken me to some truly amazing places and meet fascinating people along the way! I’m humbled to be empowered in a position where I’m able to bring my creative visions to fruition. Power is respect as an African American entrepreneur. Even more importantly in today’s society. The respect that people have for not only your work but respect for you as a person. We have to work twice as hard to get half as much, but I’m always up for the challenge!

How do you use your influence to motivate/inspire others?

My goal is to inspire others through my actions both personally and professionally. It’s not always easy, but if you love what you do people will feel it through your work. I place a real value in treating others with respect in hopes that they’ll take pride in their gifts as well.

Pay attention to detail – even the smallest one can make the biggest impact.

Own your strengths and embrace where you fall short! Winning is defined by personal goals. Don’t compare your journey to others.

Expect the unexpected! Everything won’t go as planned, but you make it work.

Reputation is your influence on others even when you’re not in the room.

Sterling Coleman Jr. – Motivational Speaker – Co-Owner of the Zaxby’s Franchise – Instagram

Sterling Jr. Thornhill

We would like for you to briefly describe your career and what POWER means to you as an African American entrepreneur.

Sterling is a businessman in every sense of the word; I am currently a co-owner of a Zaxby’s in Atlanta Georgia. When I’m not overseeing the duties of the business, I spend my time speaking to the youth and giving back to my community at large. I have a love for helping people fulfill their passion, which drove me to become the relatable motivational speaker I am known as today.

How you use your influence to motivate/inspire others?

When it comes to my influence to motivate and inspire others, I set goals for myself because a goal is a dream with a deadline. I strive for excellence because I know the mediocre is required.


Overcoming obstacle




Guy Anthony – Founder/President of Black, Gifted & Whole Foundation – Instagram

We would like for you to briefly describe your career and what POWER means to you as an African American entrepreneur.

I am a self-proclaimed ARTivist, Community Leader, and Author. I can sum up my entire career in one word; empowerment. I like to think that by my being so open and transparent with what has troubled me in the past, I empower others to do the same. One of my favorite quotes is, “ proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it”, therefore in all ways, I employ myself to be the creator and owner of each of my initiatives. I own the rights to my life and I never relinquish that power.

How you use your influence to motivate/inspire others? I use my influence by showing my humanity in every single project I create. If it does not move me, I refuse to do it. I also mentor young Black gay men by being as unapologetic as possible. Showing them that they, too, can go through something quite dark, yet find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Prepare yourself for everything, yet be flexible enough for anything.

Own your story.

Write out a to-do list every single day..and stick to it!

Earn an income from each of your talents.

Respect yourself enough to know what you deserve.

Justin Williams –  Published Interior Designer – Instagram

Justin Williams

We would like for you to briefly describe your career and what POWER means to you as an African American entrepreneur.

I’m an Atlanta based Interior Designer/Furniture Retailer with clients all across the country and over the globe. I’ve been intrigued by interiors and architecture since my early teens. I was self-taught on Auto CAD and Chief Home Architect which lead me to my first job drafting local contractors small projects during the summers in my High School years. I had no idea that Interior Design could actually be a career path at the time, I just knew that I loved it. When I was 18 I started my business, built, and continued to build it throughout my 20’s. Now at 29, I’m glad to say that I’ve worked for my business solely for 6 years. As an African American man, power means ownership. It may be business(es), home(s), or other property but when you build these portfolios of ownership, you acquire more power, something to pass down to loved ones or children which in turn transfers power to the next generation.

How you use your influence to motivate/inspire others?

I’m oftentimes invited to speak to students, other aspiring designers, or entrepreneurs in general and the thing I love best about doing this is sharing knowledge and information that I was oblivious to during my journey. I love sharing my mistakes with others in hopes that they don’t make the same ones. If I can save someone the time and heartache of mistakes that I’ve made simply by sharing my story with them that is most rewarding for me. In turn, also sharing with them the many successes and celebratory moments throughout my career hopefully leave them feeling hopeful that they too can chase after their goals and dreams.

Perfectionist – Be a perfectionist when it comes to your business because no one will fight for it as hard as you will.

Optimistic – There will be hard times in business, but you have to keep your head up, remain humble, and move forward.

Willing – You have to be willing to put forth the work and hours that it’s going to take to build a successful business.

Eager – You have to be eager to learn more. Just because you think you’re an expert at what you do, you have to be eager to learn more at all times.

Respectful – Although you’re the boss, you have to treat those you serve and those you employ with respect. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. The most effective bosses are typically the most humble and respectful people.


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